Vermont Utopias

Early Adventures in Progress by Jason Galligan-Baldwin
20″x16″; acrylic, collage, screen print, and graphite on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Bennington Museum


Vermont Utopias: Imagining the Future

at Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont, USA
27 November-28 December 2020

Vermont has a long history of supporting progressive, forward thinking ideas. This exhibition and closed-bid auction, a program of the museum’s annual Festival fundraiser, features the work of 25 contemporary artists living and/or working in Vermont and the immediately surrounding region. The works on view are their response to the simple prompt: “What is your vision for the future of Vermont?”

Vermont is strongly associated in the collective consciousness with idyllic visions of a rural past. But what about our future, especially in the midst of an international pandemic and a national reckoning with systemic racism and social injustice? How will we as a state deal with these pressing issues and the many other preexisting problems facing our communities, such as an aging population, a dwindling jobs base, and the looming environmental crises, in our increasingly interconnected world? Aware of the complexities of change over time and of the dangers of utopian prognostication, the artists in this exhibition have used their imaginations and creative energies to provide warnings of what might come to be if with we don’t take action now, while simultaneously helping us envision a happier and healthier future for our state.

Of the Past Too, Prospect by Sally Gil
10.25″x15.75″; print media collage and paint on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Bennington Museum

A majority of the artists in the exhibition are working in collage, as a medium or genre, in order to explore the themes of the exhibition. Vanessa Compton’s I, Coyote, Still Wonder is a rendering of a Vermont village using positive imagery from the artist’s own personal photographs. Jason Galligan-Baldwin’s Early Adventures in Progress focuses on coffee, donuts, sci-fi, and equal rights in an attempt to keep thoughts of uncertainty and despair at bay. Sally Gil was thinking about the plight of bees, the lack of snow, and a changing climate, feeling worried about bees and humans while making Of the Past Too, Prospect. In his piece, Pod Tower: Indian Hill, Pawlet, Vermont, Ric Kasini Kadour recasts himself as the archivist and historian of a communal living space in the future, using artist-designed and printed wallpaper and original photographs, photomontages, or found photographs printed on fine paper. You can view the entire exhibition on the museum’s website.

Finding Light #2 by Athena Petra Tasiopoulos
5.25″x5.25″; archival photo rag print and pencil, acrylic, wax pastel; edition of 25. Courtesy of the artist and Bennington Museum

Vermont Utopias is part of 2020 Vision: Reflecting on a World-Changing Year, a statewide initiative of the Vermont Curators Group.

(text adapted from the institute’s press materials)


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75 Main Street
Bennington, Vermont 05201 USA
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